It is no secret that Candace Parker is one of the most talented WNBA players, decorated with awards ranging from Rookie of the Year (2008) to All-Star Game MVP (2013) to WNBA Western Conference Player of the Month for August (2015). According to the WNBA, Parker was the first player to earn WNBA MVP and Rookie of the Year in the same season. Parker led her Women’s Senior National team to a gold medal at the 2008 FIBA Americas Championship, thus marking them as fierce competitors in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Parker further proved her talent as she scored 14 points in the final match against Australia, winning them the gold medal.
Because of her success as a star player on the Los Angeles Sparks and Team USA, Parker’s absence on the USA’s 2016 Olympic Team came as a shock to many. Parer explained to Bleacher Report, “They told me I wasn’t a top player at my position…I felt disrespected.” When reporters asked if her plans for the 2020 olympics would change, Parker simply said, “I don’t know.”
Now, she confirms she will never play for team USA again. Parker’s father claims that USA Basketball gave her a cover option, where she could essentially “resign” from playing on the 2016 olympic team. However, Parker declined, saying “You guys make a decision, you call it.”
Other players, even rival player of the Minnesota Lynx, Seimone Augustus, says, “She’s been doing this so good for so long, people kind of underestimate her. They don’t look at what she’s doing as amazing. We may not see another player like this at her position for another 10 or 20 years.”
Now, Parker is focusing on impressing a different audience. “I’m not seeking approval. I’m seeking my daughter’s respect,” Parker says. Parker’s 9-year-old, Lailaa, has been a constant motivation throughout her career and she hopes to see her daughter find the same love for basketball that she has.